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Health vending machine containing naloxone and fentanyl test strips unveiled in Grand Chute

Posted at 1:11 PM, Mar 27, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-27 14:11:31-04

GRAND CHUTE (NBC 26) — A new public health vending machine is now available at Grand Chute Town Hall.

The Outagamie County Health Public Division and Grand Chute Police Department unveiled the vending machine Wednesday. The health department said in a news release that the vending machine contains nasal naloxone, fentanyl test strips, and gun locks. There will be another vending machine at the Outagamie County Government Center containing naloxone, gun locks, hygiene kits, condoms, medications disposal bags, and other items.

"The machines are meant to give people access to items that will help create a stronger and healthier community for all," the health department said in the release. "The PHVM is also a harm reduction strategy that can be used to combat the harmful impact opioids have had on the community.

Health leaders said Outagamie County had 95 opioid overdose deaths from 2019 to 2022.

"By giving nasal naloxone and fentanyl test strips for free, the intention is that people will feel empowered to intervene in emergencies and prevent unnecessary death," the release said. "Especially because time is precious when responding to an opioid overdose."

“Just a few minutes can make the difference between survival and a fatal outcome, and those minutes are easily lost during the time it takes to call 911 and for the responding officer to arrive on scene,” Grand Chute Police Chief Greg Peterson said in the release. “For that reason, it’s imperative we continue to pursue other options.”

The health department said the vending machines help reduce barriers and stigma associated with receiving naloxone, including from a doctor or pharmacy.

“This isn’t a final solution to the opioid crisis,” Public Health Officer Natalie Vandeveld said in the release. “This is just one step toward improving the lives of those impacted by opioids. If you are a friend, neighbor or family member of someone who is struggling with addiction you can now do something to prevent an overdose or death. That is why our focus has been getting these supplies out in the community.”

Health leaders said Outagamie County Public Health and Grand Chute Police each received $50,000 in grant money from the Wisconsin Department of Health Services for the vending machines. The money is part of the state's $400 million opioid settlement.